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Assisting Farmers and Expanding the Impact

By Teguh Iman Affandi

A farmer group assisted by Agus Sumantri, a member of Kaoem Telapak, won the Small and Medium Enterprise product competition at the Central Lampung Regency level on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.

A trophy for Agus’ Group

The event organized by the local government challenged participants to showcase their agricultural products. Agus’s group exhibited coffee, sugar palms, and herbs made from ginger. For snacks, the group brought banana chips. “Unfortunately, we didn’t bring stem banana chips. If we did, we might win first place,” said Agus, laughing.

Agus’ mentoring work has been going on for 15 years. Agus is active in the Andalan Farmers and Fishermen Contact (KTNA) as the Chairperson in Pabian District, Central Lampung. KTNA is an independent organization in Indonesia that has a social orientation in the agricultural sector, based on agribusiness and the environment in rural areas. KTNA has many levels; national, provincial, city, district, and sub-district.

Intense activities with KTNA made Agus have an idea to process non-timber forest products. His fellow activists at KTNA said Because Agus was from West Central Lampung, he would understand forestry, “Indeed, my basics are forestry. Therefore forestry affairs, forest plants, I manage,” said Agus. Next, He began to bring commodities to the public arena, important places, or exhibition activities.

Agus Sumantri, member of Kaoem Telapak

In 2019, the first product that Agus brought was Honey and Pinang Coffee at the Kalianda Festival, South Lampung. A bicycle tour event that managed to attract hundreds of bicycle enthusiasts to become participants. From there, Agus’ promotion door began to open. “From there it expands, my products must continue to be stocked,” he said.

Three products are continuously being developed by Agus. The products are Kopi Pinang, sugar powder, and palm sugar. Kopi Pinang already has its fans. Currently, Kopi Pinang has become an icon in Kampung Pekandangan where Agus lives in Central Lampung.

Agus admits that developing Kopi Pinang is not easy. Many challenges must be faced Agus. One of them is about licensing. To apply for a Home Industry Production permit (PIRT), Agus had to prepare himself for two years, and that failed. But he was not discouraged. Agus tried again and in 2022 he also got it. “It’s a very long process,” he said.

Kopi Pinang ready to sell

As long as he doesn’t get a permit, Agus cooperates with the company. Agus sells his betel nut coffee to an unbranded factory. The company often buys coffee from Agus after knowing from the laboratory results that the coffee from Kampung Pekandangan is the best. However, the long-term impact is that Agus’s pinang coffee brand is not well-known to the general public. The branding of the product is not strong. However, the company admits that the product comes from a group of farmers from Kampung Pekandangan.

Now, Agus hopes to expand his Kopi Pinang marketing net through minimarkets. However, another challenge he must face, namely, the packaging issue. To enter the minimarket market network, apart from the clear history and traceability of the product, product packaging become a concern. “The packaging standard is aluminium foil, our products have used it, but the product logo must be printed, not pasted,” he said.

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